Insights

Bring the Right Advisors

Bring the Right Advisors

If you and your management team’s strategic plan includes buying a business, you’re starting in a good place right here.

In this space, I want to share some insights my team, and I have learned over years of walking our clients successfully through this process. I want to offer you some help that will see you travel successfully from the start of the acquisition process to the finish line with the best possible outcome in mind.

While this might sound self-serving – it’s not …. there’s really just one right way to begin: find the best M&A advisors who will be with you right from the start; these aren’t waters you want to swim alone.

There are three basic steps in the process of (smartly) buying a new business:

STEP ONE: PREPARATION

STEP TWO: MARKET OUTREACH

STEP THREE: CLOSING THE DEAL

I’ll get into each stage in fine detail in subsequent posts, but let me tell you why it’s critical to have good M&A Advisors at your side at every step.

Step One: Preparation

If you want to buy a business wisely, with the benefits for you and your company maximized, you need to be impeccably prepared. This is not a small undertaking, and I firmly believe that the strength of your completed deal hinges on the quality of work you do in the preparatory phase. Cut corners at your peril.

Make sure that you don’t go it alone.

You want to bring the best M&A Advisors on board here because the best M&A Advisors know:

  • the specifics and mechanics of the preparation required, and will guide you through a formalized process to get it all done perfectly;
  • the scrutiny that you and your business will face throughout the process, and will ready you to use the positives and negatives of that scrutiny to your advantage;
  • that business strategy will help you connect your acquisition plans with the direction you need to take the business;
  • people. They know how people think, they know their fears and anxieties, and they know how to help people make the best decisions.

Step Two: Market Outreach

In this step, you’ll begin “treasure hunting” for your new business, but it’s not like flipping through an online catalog.

The first step in the process got you prepared to face the marketplace, and now that the search has begun in earnest, you want experienced M&A Advisors with you because:

  • M&A Advisors will have access to market info, people, and proprietary sources to help find suitable candidates that are a perfect match.
  • M&A Advisors will have experience in similar transactions. They can offer informed guidance as you winnow out prospects that might seem perfect on the surface but would nevertheless be a mistake to acquire.

Step Three: Closing the Deal

Getting any acquisition over the finish line is an intricate, multi-faceted process. You want skilled M&A Advisors at your side for this stage because:

  • M&A Advisors will navigate the morass of technicalities and small details that can have critical implications on the shape of your final deal. Bring some very picky experts with you to the table, because even the pros have been bested by fine print;
  • M&A Advisors will be skilled, experienced, and comfortable with the art and craft of negotiation. In fact, a great advisory team will have people on board who can’t wait for the negotiations to begin.

You’ll be grateful for a committed team of advisors even after the deal is done. Post-deal integration of the new with the old isn’t always naturally easy or successful. I liken it to successfully beginning a blended family: you can’t just throw everyone into bunk beds and hope for the best.

There are a lot of new points of contact that must be managed, lots of potential for unpredicted friction, and a guarantee of some curve balls no matter how smooth the acquisition process may otherwise be.

At Stillwater, we’re very aware that the process of buying a business isn’t really complete just because the papers have been signed.

Incredible M&A Advisors, like those at Stillwater, will offer you tools and resources to help make post-deal integration run smoothly.

In subsequent posts, I’ll dig into the specifics of each step in this process and offer you some observations I’ve collected over years of negotiating and closing deals. Still, it really all starts with one piece of advice, advice I urge you not to ignore:

Don’t Do It Alone!

Don’t settle for M&A Advisors who only seem ready to show up when there are forms to fill out, contracts to be signed (and cheques to be cashed). You want a team of advisors who act as partners with you at every step of the process, beginning to end. Partners, not “Yes Men.”

That’s what we offer at Stillwater: a dedicated team as partners in the process.

You can start the conversation with us here.